WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was charged Thursday with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for his work aiding Chelsea Manning in cracking a password that helped her gain access to classified U.S. government files in 2010, the U.S. Justice Department announced hours after Assange's arrest in London.
Assange’s arrest drew sharp reactions from his supporters and those who oppose him.
WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization which Assange founded and for which he published multiple secret U.S. military cables regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, condemned the Ecuadorean and British governments for arresting Assange.
Edward Snowden, who infamously leaked highly classified NSA information, tweeted Assange's arrest was "going to end up in the history books."
He later added the U.S. charge against Assange was weak.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom tweeted the “fight for his freedom kicks into high gear.”
Pamela Anderson, who previously told Fox News she had a close relationship with Julian Assange, retweeted something from April 4 as an apparent response to his arrest.
Her tweet from April 5 means "the truth will prevail."
She also added: “I am in shock,” Anderson wrote in a tweet. “I couldn’t hear clearly what he said? He looks very bad. How could you [Ecuador]? (Because he exposed you).How could you UK.? Of course - you are America’s b---- and you need a diversion from your idiotic Brexit brecirt.”
H.M. So, a Korean-American author, argued that the Assange arrested was a bad look for Western society.
The ACLU released a statement on Assange's arrest as well.
“Any prosecution by the United States of Mr. Assange for Wikileaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations. Moreover, prosecuting a foreign publisher for violating U.S. secrecy laws would set an especially dangerous precedent for U.S. journalists, who routinely violate foreign secrecy laws to deliver information vital to the public's interest,” Ben Wizner, the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said in a statement.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted: "US journalists have long hated WikiLeaks because they have published stories of far greater importance & impact than most of those journalists in the lifetime will ever publish, all without being part of their little club. But to cheer the Trump DOJ prosecution is just grotesque."
Greenwald also hit out at NBC News for the way the news organization was covering the Assage arrest.
Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, condemned the arrest of Assange.
"We strongly condemn the detention of Julian Assange and the violation of freedom of expression. Our solidarity is with this brother who is persecuted by the government for revealing its human rights violations, murders of civilians and diplomatic espionage," he tweeted.
Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno described the decision to withdraw Assange’s asylum as a “sovereign decision” because of his alleged repeated violations.
“Today I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr. Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said in a video statement posted on Twitter.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt thanked the Ecuadorean government for their cooperation with the Assange arrest.
British Prime Minister Theresa May also said that Assange's arrest proved that "no one is above the law."
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country wants Assange’s rights to be observed, but couldn’t comment on the overall case.
“We of course hope that all of his rights will be observed,” Peskov told reporters.
Assange, 47, has been in the embassy since 2012 when British courts ordered him extradited to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That matter has since been dropped, but Wikileaks is facing a federal grand jury investigation over its publication of American diplomatic and military secrets during the Iraq War.